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Domain Blocking Bill Delayed

Published October 6, 2010

Civil libertarians are rejoicing after an announcement that further examination of the USA's controversial Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) has been delayed.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Senate Judiciary Committee won't be considering the legislation until after the midterm elections, which occur in November.

The EFF says protest action by the public and Internet pioneers contributed to the delay of further consideration of the Act. 

The legislation would see the US Government with additional capabilities of shutting down web sites and forcing domain registrars, ISP's and other online service provides to block services to particular domain names. 

Domains added to one of two COICA blacklists would be placed on it for "infringing activity," which critics says is defined very broadly - and that it would set the stage for increased Internet censorship. Even without a court order, sites could added to one of the blacklists on the say-so of the US Attorney General.  While this particular list will not legally compel providers to block a domain, the fact the request comes from the Attorney General's office may find it enough reason to comply.

In addition to 87 Internet pioneers signing their name to an open letter protesting COICA, the "Father of the Web", Sir Tim Berners Lee, has also condemned the legislation, stating that governments should not be permitted to blocking access to domains as a way of  furthering their own aims.

At the time of writing, over 98,000 people have signed a petition at Demand Progress demanding the bill be opposed.

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